|Amelia Island Reliquary by Regina Roper|
I have lived on the ocean almost all of my life. If I wasn't right on the water, I've almost never lived more than 45 minutes away. I have also been a collector of stones and fossils for most of my life, so it isn't really a surprise that a lot of the jewelry I make has an ocean theme. Over the past 21 years, I have walked many beaches here in Florida, collecting fossils. But the place I usually go is a lovely little barrier island nearby called Amelia Island. The most common fossil we find are shark's teeth. I have jars full of the teeth of all possible sizes and species of prehistoric shark. I even have a few rare ones.
When I was thinking of this challenge, I knew I wanted to do an ocean-themed piece, so I chose to weave ten beautiful fossil shark's teeth into the body of my necklace, and drop an extra-special large specimen of a Whaler-shark (a large ocean going shark) at the bottom. I chose my color scheme of black and deep blue to reflect the mystery of the primal ocean.
100% of the seed beads used in this project are antique faceted 'charlotte-type' beads that were made c1900. The peyote weave is embellished with faceted crystal beads, bicones, cubes, drops and other things. When weaving the teeth into the piece, I knew that they wouldn't just 'stay put' unless they were totally encrusted (and thus completely hidden) by beads. What would be the point if you could not see them and know what they were? So I decided to hand wrap each smaller tooth with black Artistic Wire specially embellished on the shank with beads, and blend the wire wrapped teeth into the freeform peyote. That way they were 100% secure, and their detail could show. The larger tooth, I was able to drill and wrap minimally to hang as a drop. I am very pleased with the way 'Amelia Island Reliquary' turned out, and I have received many compliments on it.
|Manawydan's Blessings by Regina Roper|
I will keep using the freeform peyote weave technique. I actually use it a lot in making custom chains for my bead embroidery pieces. Bead embroidery is my first love, and I am always looking for new ways to make my work more interesting. I used extensive freeform peyote on the chain for a very large breastplate that I made about a year or so ago. Another ocean themed piece, this one incorporates a large fossil sand dollar, turitella fossil agate, agatized coral, opalized ammonites and fossil shark's teeth along with contemporary seashells and freshwater pearls. It is called 'Manawydan's Blessings'. Manawydan fab Llyr is the Welsh god of the sea, and all of the things used in the piece symbolize his gifts.
I would have loved to use this piece for my challenge entry, but in honesty, I did not actually find all of the components myself, so it did not meet the criteria. This piece was recently awarded, winning second place in a local judged fine art show in the 3D/Mixed Media category.
Now take a moment to visit the other participants. The full list is available here.